Submicrowatt CMOS Rectifier for a Fully Passive Wake-Up Receiver

Darshan Shetty, Christoph Steffan, Gerald Holweg, Wolfgang Bosch, Jasmin Grosinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents a wide-range, submicrowatt CMOS rectifier, which is designed to efficiently work at input power levels down to -31 dBm. The designed rectifier uses a novel threshold voltage compensation design, namely, the design of a custom-built single-stage rectifier that supplies a nanowatt current reference circuit. The generated bias current is mirrored to the core rectifier in order to precharge its CMOS diodes. The rectifier was optimized for a minimum number of gain stages while trying to minimize the overall input parasitic capacitance of the rectifier. The proposed CMOS rectifier was designed in an in-house 130-nm CMOS technology and includes a 1.6-kV human body level ESD protection at the input terminals. Measurements reveal a high 30% power conversion efficiency (PCE) over a wide input power range from -23 to -13 dBm for a 1- MΩ output load at 868 MHz. PCE of over 10% is achieved for a 1- MΩ load at an input power of -28 dBm. The enhanced startup at submicrowatt input power levels of the CMOS rectifier enables the design of an ultralow-power passive wake-up receiver. The measured sensitivity of -31 dBm for a 1-V output voltage across a capacitive load is the lowest reported in the literature so far.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4803-4812
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • CMOS rectifier
  • CMOS technology
  • high-sensitivity rectifier
  • passive wake-up receiver (WuRX)
  • Radio frequency
  • radio frequency (RF) energy harvesting
  • Semiconductor device modeling
  • submicrowatt circuit
  • Threshold voltage
  • threshold voltage compensation.
  • Topology
  • Transistors
  • Voltage measurement
  • threshold voltage compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Radiation

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing


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